Santa Monica Planning Commissioner Derek Shearer has labeled Mayor Christine Reed's request for his resignation a "smoke screen," designed to obscure the fact that the mayor's council majority has appointed people to the commission who "do not run it very well."
Reed last week called for Shearer's resignation because of his public criticism of Planning Director Ann Siracusa. Reed has also been critical of what she said was Shearer's poor attendance record at commission meetings.
"All I have been doing," Shearer said in an interview Tuesday, "is pointing out that the problems and complaints about how the Planning Commission is run are directly the fault of the mayor and her majority. They have appointed the majority of the Planning Commission."
Reed is a member of the rival All Santa Monica Coalition and casts one of that organization's four votes on the seven-member City Council. Shearer is a member of Santa Monicans for Renters Rights.
Shearer, who was out of town last week, said this week that he will not resign, but that he has not spoken with Reed.
In an interview published early last week in the Santa Monica Evening Outlook, Shearer said that Siracusa was inept and that fellow Planning Commissioner Penny Perlman was inefficient.
He said Tuesday that he made his remarks to the Outlook in response to an aborted coalition effort to oust him in July. Several sources said that move failed when Alan Katz, the council's lone independent, refused to provide the crucial fifth vote.
For months, most of the Planning Commission meetings have been devoted to a comprehensive review of a proposed revision of the city's zoning code. Shearer, a planning commissioner for more than five years, said the slow pace of that review has held up work on studies of proposed development projects.
As for his attendance record, Shearer said he has attended more than 95% of commission meetings since his appointment in 1981.
"I think the reason they are trying to remove me is that they do not want my viewpoint and strong defense of neighbors against developers," he said.
Reed said she would not comment until she has received a direct response from Shearer. But last week she said she would try to gather the five votes required to fire Shearer if he did not resign.
But without Katz's support, it is unlikely the mayor can find enough votes to oust Shearer.
Although Katz has been critical of Shearer's remarks about Siracusa, he said he will not decide whether to vote to oust Shearer until he has had a chance to meet with him.